Putting a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult decision regardless of the circumstances. In the case of Alzheimer’s, most research shows that at some point in the progression of the disease a nursing home becomes the right decision for the family in Boonton. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, there are nearly 2 million people currently living in some form of nursing home. Over 90% of these residents are over 65 years old and most require 24 hour supervision due to some physical limitation or dementia.
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Alzheimer’s disease is an extremely sad and difficult condition to work with. This disease is very difficult on the family members in Boonton. Just thinking that as the days slip by your aging loved one will soon become more and more distant. This can be very depressing and an emotional time for most family caregivers. Besides the common emotion of depression, most family members often feel angry, frustrated, and even at a loss for words.
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Alzheimer's Disease robs its victims of many of life's most important things and leaves the one suffering with the disease in an extremely vulnerable position. The inability to protect themselves must then fall on the shoulders of someone the victim trusts. For that reason it is imperative that those responsible for the care of Alzheimer's victims be very aware of every possible threat their loved one might face. Recognizing most of the risks will be easy, but others are not so obvious.
During our journey into Alzheimer's we have learned some of the greatest risks come from the most unexpected places, including from within the family of the one suffering with the disease. This is an unfortunate and even disturbing reality that most of us don't want to believe. Wishing it were not true does not make the reality less true.
Our experiences have revealed that families behaving badly are sometimes more common than families behaving well when money is involved. So how can you protect your loved one in these circumstances? Here are several suggestions.
Our loved one's condition deteriorated quickly and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's shortly thereafter. Once we realized what had happened with the money we confronted the relative. At that time he insisted that the money was a gift. She was still able to say that it was her money, but there was no legal recourse to force him to return it to her.
Do you know how much Alzheimer's care costs? That money should have been used for her care. Instead the relative used it for his personal pleasure. Did we ever imagine he would take advantage of our loved one in such a way? Absolutely not, but he did and the money is gone.
Do not think something like this could not happen to your loved one, too. It's ugly, but it happens. Learn from the experiences of others. Be proactive, not reactive, to protect your loved one with Alzheimer's. As an Alzheimer's caregiver, it is an important part of your job.
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"Alzheimer's is not a sprint. It's a marathon." This was what the memory care center manager told us during our first care conference. It took a while for this to sink in fully. She was encouraging our family to find a balance between caring for our loved one who has Alzheimer's and still maintaining a life for ourselves. A sprinter focuses on speed for a short distance but soon runs out of strength. Just as a marathon runner trains for endurance, an Alzheimer's caregiver must approach this disease with the long run in mind.
When we first became responsible for an aunt with Alzheimer's, our lives drastically changed. It often felt as if our lives were spinning out of control. There was little time for anything or anyone other than Aunt Betty. We finally realized that it would be impossible to continue at the same pace. If we failed to take care of ourselves, we might not be able to continue caring for her. Alzheimers can be a long, slow process. It is essential that Alzheimers caregivers take care of themselves, too.
Alzheimer's support groups are usually available at churches, community centers, facilities specializing in memory care, and nursing homes. Check your local yellow pages for groups in your area. If you're not comfortable in a group setting, a private session with a licensed counselor or pastor could prove helpful.
Finally, make it a priority to have relationships with others who have no connection with Alzheimer's. Everything in your life does not have to be about the disease. For your own mental, physical, and emotional health, develop friendships with people who can provide an escape.